With extremes in diversity not only in relation to cultures and people but also climate, typography, mineral wealth, fauna and flora, Mzansi (South Africa) is the best country in the world.
We are privileged to inhabit this land which comprises every possible landscape, including deserts, mountains, forests, and the coast.
From the Cape to Kosi and Polloks to Slummies; from the lush forests and cascading waterfalls of the Mpumalanga Lowveld to the spectacular Cedarburg on the West Coast, us Saffas – from all walks of -life are united by sunshine, fire and the love sports.
Like David Skylark (James Franco) said in the Hollywood blockbuster movie, “The interview” when he landed in North Korea and was welcomed by an elaborate cultural decorum: “We are different people; we speak different languages, we have different faces, but inside we are same-same. Same-same, but different, but still same”.
Having gotten to know each other a little better this Heritage Month through cross-cultural experiences, specifically food and dance, it is time to celebrate the beautiful land and mutual love for things that unite us.
Whether shisha nyama, a braai, potjiekos, or putu pap, South Africans are united by the love of cooking over an open fire and it is no surprise then, that almost all of our wonderful places to explore are geared for this.
With spring in full swing, we have about seven months of warm, sunny outdoor living to look forward to, so what are you waiting for?
Cruising South Africa’s Coastline
Hugged by a 3100km long wrap-around coastline that spans two oceans, South Africa is blessed with 136 different coastal habitat types, ranging from subtropical coral reefs and mangroves on the north coast (a diver’s and paddler’s paradise!), to kelp forests and seamounts on the south and west coast.
With the warm Indian Ocean lapping the 600km long KwaZulu Natal coastline with its rocky outcrops golden beaches and humid sub-tropical climate, it provides for year-round stoke with 12 months of bikini weather and some of the most epic surf spots in the world like North Beach, Willards (home of the Ballito Pro), Southbroom and Scotties.
The surf safari continues along rest of our pristine coastline with sick breaks like the world famous Supertubes in J-Bay, Vic Bay, Seals, Dungeons, Lamberts Bay and many, many more.
But bru, be advised, anything south of the Umtamvuma River and you’ll definitely need a wetsuit – sometimes even in peak summer!
Scuba Divers Delight
Scuba divers from all over the world froth at the thought of diving right in our own backyard at places like Sodwana Bay (one of the world’s most famous dive sites) and the exclusive and unspoiled dive sites at Mabibi that forms part of the Maputoland Coastal Reserve, a World Heritage Site and marine protected reserve where one can see migrating whales and whale sharks between October and February.
Protea banks and Aliwal Shoal along the KZN south coast are favourites for shark and wreck diving as well as prime locations for catching the annual sardine run that passes through there from May to June.
Running for the Hills
They may not be as high as the Alps or the Pyrenees, but South Africa’s mountain ranges are rugged and intensely beautiful additions to Mzanzi’s Unmissable Destinations.
The Drakensberg, Cedarburg, Roggeveld, Magaliesberg ranges as well as the Hottentots Hollands and Helderberg mountains along the Garden Route collectively ticks every box imaginable.
From finding solitude in a cave adorned with San rock paintings or hanging out on a cliff face, rock climbing, to hiking with your besties and chasing winter snow, Mzansi has it all under one clear blue sky – and at a fraction of the cost of overseas flights, accommodation and spending money in foreign currency.
Wildlife reserves are in almost endless supply and definitely make Mzanzi’s Unmissable Destinations list. With no less than 20 game reserves and national parks spread across various climatic zones within our borders, Mzansi is world-famous for spectacular wildlife, birdlife and, of course, the big five.
With two of the world’s most famous game reserves (Kruger National Park and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park) on home soil, our wildlife reputation is so huge that some people actually believe lions roam our streets and that we keep elephants as pets!
South Africa’s biodiversity and safari opportunities are of such world-class quality that very year, millions of tourists flock to our shores to experience our “everyday” and almost all of them have at least one of our 12 big five game reserves on their itineraries.
Awe my bra!
Have you ever hear of the term “little five”?
The little five is a list of the smaller; less noticed but still enigmatic animals of the South African bushveld and include the elephant shrew, ant lion, rhinoceros beetle, buffalo weaver and leopard tortoise.
Hayibo! I can’t believe it!
When Dust Turns To Daisies
No tribute to our magnificent homeland would be complete without mentioning the world-renowned Namaqualand Flower Route – an 800km stretch of road between Cape Town and Port Nolloth.
For the most part, this area is rather dry and dusty but following rain in the winter months, the landscape briefly explodes with colour as one of the world’s most amazing wildflower displays comes to life in the early spring months of August and September.
The Past Is Also Present
In addition to all this Mzansi magic, we even offer travels through time when visiting some of our country’s incredible historical sites like Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves.
This country of ours really has everything, even a good road system that connects an abundance of road trip adventures for all South Africans, including the rapidly rising biking community.
So don’t pull a Benny, eksê; choon your motjie and rather spend your holiday moolah on Mzanzi’s Unmissable Destinations.